My question is about whether there's any point in editing a question where you can see clear points for improvement but still feel that the question lacks the sufficient research/examples to give a proper answer to it. I personally don't think it's worth it, but I'd like to hear the opinions of some of the other members.

I'm talking, for example, about questions like this one. My first instinct was to edit it to use quote blocks for the separate possibilities OP was asking for, but then I realised there wasn't really enough to the question for a decent answer to be given anyway; either that or it would end up being primarily opinion-based.

Your thoughts?

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    I've gone ahead and edited it, added a comment about improving the question, and voted to close for lack of research. Feel free to re-edit. If the question gets deleted, the editing's moot but no harm's done. If it doesn't, you've helped improve the quality of the site, even if just by a smidgen.
    – Lawrence
    Commented Mar 11, 2016 at 12:05
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    @Lawrence upvoted your comment for "it's improved the quality of the site"; that's mainly the thing I was looking for alternative opinions on, as I felt that it might be worth it for that reason but questioned whether it would be. Thanks for your input. Commented Mar 11, 2016 at 12:07
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    Some of the answers in How can we encourage more folks to edit? may be good background. I don't edit questions that are likely to be deleted; I will occasionally edit duplicates, because even though they may be closed, they are generally retained.
    – choster
    Commented Mar 11, 2016 at 16:46
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    Editing is voluntary action is polishing the site. Of course it's always nicer if editors spend their time on posts that are worth it but no one can keep them from editing bad ones. It's their time anyway.
    – M.A.R.
    Commented Mar 11, 2016 at 17:25

1 Answer 1


To me, the awkward thing about editing a very poorly worded question that is a bad fit for EL&U anyway is the disparity between the voice of the revised question and the level of the question.

Often a question that shows little command of English asks something that even an intermediate English language learner would consider exceedingly simple—or wrongheaded in its underlying assumptions. When you edit to make the wording more fluent, you create a gulf between the tone of the revised question and the nature of the question being asked. The result can be confusing to prospective answerers, too, because the question is framed with a certain degree of articulateness and yet it asks something that seems (not to put too fine a point on it) weird or dumb.

In those cases, I think we're better off leaving the wording as originally formulated and simply moving to close or delete the question promptly.

  • There is the odd such question where an underlying question has real mileage. Commented Dec 23, 2023 at 23:14

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